This week marks the 35-year-anniversary of the founding of Charter 77, an informal civic initiative against the communist regime. Many of its signatories would later become important figures in post-communist Czech society, such as philosopher and playwright Václav Havel, who was elected the country’s first president after the revolution. Now, the anniversary of the charter is being honored in Prague with a week-long commemoration, the Week of Charter 77.
Prague City Museum recently put on display a part of the biggest silver treasure ever found in the country. Visitors are able to admire just a fraction of the vast depot of nearly half a ton of silver jewelry, tableware, goblets, coins as well as raw silver, which was hidden in a Prague building some time after the end of WWII. The museum is now trying to find out who hid such a huge treasure, only discovered by accident roughly three years ago.
For the younger generation that had grown up after the end of World War II, the Soviet-led invasion of August 1968 was traumatic. The Prague Spring had brought an atmosphere of optimism and genuine enthusiasm for change, and all these hopes were crushed overnight. In this week’s From the Archives, we’ll hear what students had to say at the time, as recorded by Czechoslovak and foreign radio stations as the occupation unfolded.
The National Museum has opened an exhibition highlighting the personality cult of the first Czechoslovak communist president, Klement Gottwald. The exhibition, named Laboratory of Power, is located in Prague´s Vítkov Memorial which the communist regime turned into a mausoleum for Gottwald after his death in 1953. One of the exhibition’s organizers Marek Junek took me through the underground rooms built for the army of people who took care of the embalmed body for nine long years. He started out by explaining how the memorial underwent a significant
In this week’s From the Archives we continue our look at how radio covered the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Today we follow the part played by the United Nations. Within just a few hours of the tanks crossing the border, the UN Security Council met for a special meeting to discuss what to do about the invasion. Czechoslovakia’s Ambassador to the UN, Jan Mužík was unequivocal:
This February marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the Czech Republic’s greatest animators, puppeteers and illustrators, Jiří Trnka. This milestone is being marked in the Czech Republic by the country’s National Film Archive; its Prague-based Ponrepo cinema screening a collection of Trnka’s films and documentaries about the artist until March 16th. Czech Centres around the globe – which exist to promote the Czech Republic - are also marking the anniversary heralding an exhibition called “Jiří Trnka: In the Service of the Imagination”
In the previous episode of Czech Life, we brought you the first part of the life story of Ivy Kovandová – one of the so-called war brides, English women who got married to Czech soldiers or pilots during World War II and then followed their husbands back to their native Czechoslovakia. Today, it is time for the second part of Ivy’s story – which starts with her arrival in her husband Oldřich Kovanda’s home country.
In the course of 1968 the Soviet Union made it increasingly clear that it disapproved strongly of the Prague Spring reforms. Yet, despite mounting tensions with Moscow, the Soviet led invasion on the night from August 20-21 1968, came as a huge shock. Today we are going to hear some of the broadcasts from that fateful day. We start with Radio Moscow, with an official Soviet version of events.
It can easily be called one of the most important documents in the history of modern science. Gregor Mendel’s priceless manuscript on the inheritance of plant traits, composed in Brno in 1865, opened the door to the field of genetics. This month, after many years of changing hands and much negotiation, it was brought home.